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How IT Teams Can More Efficiently Deliver Stakeholder Satisfaction

Scott Macdonald, Ph.D, Commercial Director, Info-Tech Research Group
| Posted at 2:55 PM by ISACA News | Category: COBIT-Governance of Enterprise IT | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Scott MacdonaldBilly Beane was one of the first general managers in the history of Major League Baseball to use data to build out a successful team with a fraction of the budget relative to his peers. Like many IT leaders, he had to do more with less.

Now, imagine that you’re responsible for managing a Periodic Table’s worth of processes central to a successful IT shop.

You’re overworked, underfunded, and the business doesn’t understand why it should dedicate resources to supporting yet another acronym from the DRP, MDM, or COBIT-letter salad. Where do you go from here?

First, you need to think like Billy Beane. Think hard about your most important KPI. Now, reverse-engineer the drivers that factor into it.

IT Management & Governance Framework
Source: Info-Tech Research Group

For Billy, his KPI was on-base percentage. For IT leaders, your KPI should be stakeholder satisfaction because IT exists to support the business’s capabilities and revenue streams.

At Info-Tech Research Group, we’ve collected data from the thousands of stakeholders with whom our IT leaders work. Our goal was to mine this data until we uncovered the top drivers of stakeholder satisfaction. To this end, we ran a multiple linear regression, and there were two key take-home messages from these results – notably, one of them is more important than the other:

What Drives Business Satifaction?
Source: Info-Tech Research Group

1) Your ability to prioritize stakeholder projects is, for obvious reasons, very important. Boiling the ocean is not an option.
2) Critically, however, your ability to communicate, understand, and execute on stakeholder needs carries even more weight than other more expensive drivers. The return on your investment in relationships is far greater than the ROI in innovation, infrastructure, and applications because working on relationships is cheap and effective.

Moral of the story? Maintaining good relationships with stakeholders yields greater dividends relative to investing in a new shiny toy. You can immediately improve relationships for free, which will cost you less than investing in the more expensive drivers of stakeholder satisfaction, like infrastructure or applications. The trick, though, is, you need to use your own data. Remember, the results above are averages across thousands of stakeholders.

Now, back to managing that Periodic Table of core processes. Once you’ve figured out which processes tie into your stakeholder’s top priorities, you must hone your focus on the five or six processes (e.g., DRP or Service Desk) that relate to those priorities. Ask your leadership team in IT how important and effective they perceive these processes to be, and suss out the areas you all agree are important to the business but are also areas in which you are not effective.

IT Management & Governance Framework
Source: Info-Tech Research Group

There are two major benefits to this alignment exercise between stakeholders and across your IT leadership team:

1) You will no longer be as overworked, and the business won’t be stuck supporting yet another acronym from the COBIT-letter salad or paying for yet another new toy that the business doesn’t really need.
2) Your IT shop will climb the maturity tower (see below) and make technology a better business partner.
 
Yogi Berra, ex-catcher for the New York Yankees, once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."

His words resonate today. Use your own data to help prioritize stakeholder projects and benchmark the quality of business relationships to move the needle on the one-metric-to-rule-them-all, stakeholder satisfaction. As Billy Beane figured out all those years ago, it’ll help you accomplish more with less.

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